Gateau Noir

A rich moist chocolate cake, Gateau Noir (ga-toh nwahr) is iced with a glossy rum and chocolate icing. Ice the cake not more than an hour or two before you require it as the icing loses its gloss with time.

6-8

8 oz. plus

1 teaspoon butter

8 oz. dark cooking chocolate 2 to 4 tablespoons water or prepared coffee

8 oz. castor sugar

5 large eggs, separated

1 oz. ground almonds

1 oz. fresh white breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

8 oz. dark cooking chocolate 4 to 6 tablespoons dark rum 1 oz. butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 375°F (Gas Mark 5, 190°C). Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf tin with the teaspoon of butter and line the bottom with a piece of greaseproof or waxed paper. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate with 2 tablespoons of the water or coffee over low heat, stirring frequently. When the chocolate has melted, remove the pan from the heat and stir in enough of the remaining water or coffee to make a thick cream. Set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream the remaining butter with a wooden spoon until it is soft. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Add the egg yolks, one at a time, with a spoonful of the ground almonds, beating constantly.

Add the chocolate, the breadcrumbs, the vanilla essence and the remaining ground almonds and stir well to mix.

In another medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a wire whisk or rotary beater until they form stiff peaks.

Using a metal spoon, carefully fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and place it in the centre of the oven. Bake the cake for l- hours, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. After 50 minutes cover the top with aluminium foil to prevent the cake from browning too much.

Remove the tin from the oven. Leave the cake in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn it out on to a wire rack to cool.

When the cake is cool and just before serving, make the icing.

In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate in the rum over low heat, stirring occa-sionally. When the chocolate has melted and the mixture has the consistency of thick cream, remove the pan from the heat. Add the butter, piece by piece, stirring constantly. Let one piece of butter dissolve before adding the next.

Place the cake on a serving dish. Pour the icing over the cake and, working quickly, spread the icing all over the cake.

Leave the icing to set before serving.

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